WHO Reports Highest Increase of Ebola Cases as Senegal Confirms First Ebola CaseAugust 29, 2014 in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, West Africa
The WHO indicated Friday that this past week has seen the highest increase of Ebola cases since the outbreak began, noting that this new data offers more evidence that the crisis is worsening.
In a detailed report on the outbreak released Friday, the WHO disclosed that more than 500 cases were recorded over the past week, by far the worst toll of any week so far. According to the new data, the vast majority of the cases were reported in Liberia however the agency noted that it was also the highest number of cases in one week for Guinea and Sierra Leone. Nigeria also recorded a small number of cases.
According to officials at the WHO, “there are serious problems with case management and infection, prevention and control,” noting that the “situation is worsening in Liberia and Sierra Leone,” as neither of those countries has enough space in treatment centers to handle the tremendous and increasing number of cases. The region where the three most affected countries meet remains the epicenter of the outbreak, as nearly two-thirds of all cases have been reported in the area. The recent spread of the virus into densely populated cities is also now causing concern, with Monrovia, Liberia’s capital city, particularly being hit hard.
The new data comes just one day after the UN health agency warned that the outbreak in West Africa was accelerating, and that it could eventually infect as many as 20,000 people. So far, it has killed more than 1,500 of the 3,000 people it has infected in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. The UN health agency also disclosed Thursday that it assumes that in many of the hard-hit areas, the actual number of cases may be two to four times higher than is currently being reported.
Meanwhile Senegal on Friday confirmed the country’s first Ebola case. During a news conference, Health Minister Awa Marie Coll Seck confirmed that the case was a Guinean national who had arrived from the neighboring West African country, where the deadly virus was first detected in March. According to officials, the man was immediately placed in quarantine. Senegal, which is a major hub for the business and aid community in West Africa had recently closed its border with Guinea in a bid to prevent the deadly virus from spreading. It is now the fifth West African country to be affected by the outbreak.